In a hard-fought battle against UMBC on Friday, the Binghamton women’s soccer team was able to earn an overtime win and clinch a playoff berth. With a setup from junior defender Nicole Scudero, senior midfielder Sarah Dibble snuck a goal into the back of the net in the fourth minute of overtime, sending the Bearcats (5-1-0, 4-1-0 America East) to the postseason with a 1-0 win. Along with making the playoffs, the Bearcats are tied for the top record in their division with Stony Brook.
“We created a lot of good opportunities throughout the game, which led to that goal from [Dibble] that won the game for us,” said Binghamton head coach Neel Bhattacharjee.
Throughout the game, the Bearcats had a strong performance on the defensive side of the ball. Overall, BU has only allowed three goals this season, two of which were corner kicks. Junior goalkeeper Haylee Poltorak had a shutout against UMBC (1-4-1, 1-4-0 AE), making this her second shutout in five games. Even with the tough conditions of yesterday’s game, she was able to make some important saves for the Bearcats.
“When [Poltorak was] called upon to make some crucial saves, she was there for us,” Bhattacharjee said. “We were also playing difficult conditions and to her credit, as a goalkeeper, you’re not getting tested all the time and then next thing you know you might need to make the biggest play of the game. It was a wet field and she did a great job with the conditions of the field, as she made a lot of saves and didn’t let up any rebounds, which is very hard to do in wet conditions like that. And it goes for all the backs as they have all been very steady and have done a great job for us all spring.”
This season has come with a lot of adversity due to the pandemic, especially since the team hasn’t had a full roster for the entire season. Starting in their upcoming playoff game, the Bearcats are expected to have a full roster for the first time. The team’s preparation for this season and throughout the year has got them to this point and BU plans to continue to stay true to their process as they prepare for the upcoming playoff game.
“Throughout this season it’s been much different since there are a lot of regulations we must follow,” Bhattacharjee said. “Instead of regular meetings we had meetings on Zoom, we had to do testing three times a week. We had to make sure we had no hiccups with COVID-19, and even then we still ran into some situations … For the postseason we are going to continue to do that as we focus on getting better in our training sessions, get in our recovery and then start to prep for UMass Lowell. And if we do that hopefully we can put ourselves in a really good spot for Thursday.”
The Bearcats are the No. 2 seed in the conference playoffs and are set to play No. 1 UMass Lowell on Thursday, April 15 at 3 p.m. If they win, the team will advance to the conference championship game on Saturday. All AE tournament games will take place at Cushing Field Complex in Lowell, Massachusetts.